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Good morning crew!
September is here, back to work, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still space for a weekend out of town, maybe a gastronomically succulent one!
For this reason, I decided to take you on a gastronomic tour in one of the cities that has a special place in my heart (and my stomach): Rome.
I lived in Rome, to be exact in Frascati, for a few months to attend a master, immediately after my graduation. There, I met friends and I filled my agenda of useful addresses.
More than a master’s degree in copywriting, mine was a master in… cheese and pepper!
Roma undoubtedly is famous for pasta dishes, for lamb in all its forms and for a variety of meats, cheeses, sauces, and deep-fried-little-things that can make a snack or a truly memorable aperitif.
Without turning on debates such as “The best carbonara in town”, I will explain how to get through a culinary day in Rome and I will give a series of addresses where you will find excellent Roman cuisine, without falling into the so common tourist traps.
First, if you have never visited Rome, it will be unlikely that you could sit at the table for lunch and honestly, with all that beauty around to see, I do not recommend.
In Rome, to calm hunger, there is a wonderful thing, which is called “pizza bianca” is not pizza, it is not a focaccia. A chef would call it a very fluted dough, because of large air bubbles within it. Crispy crust and soft interior, light. Perfect to be stuffed with mortadella or other meats. Every self-respecting old-fashioned bakery prepares daily pizza bianca, and you will not even hard to find a grocery that will fill it to your liking (I have even found one a few steps from the Trevi Fountain). My advice: stalked elderly Roman ladies who shop at lunchtime, sooner or later will lead you in the right place.
The same goes for the pizza by the slice: the base is the same as the pizza bianca, but forget the classic margherita or marinara. The best are stuffed with vegetables, such as whipping chicory, chicory or broccoli, or with the courgette flowers. Beware of those who offer only ham and cheese. Where to find them? More or less everywhere, but the best, from experience, you will find in defiladed streets away from the tourist bustle.
Now that it’s getting dark, and you ground kilometers, you have two choices: sit in a restaurant (I list them below), or to live the “fraschetta” experience. To do that, though, you’d better move up in Frascati, the wine town, not far from Ariccia, the capital city of porchetta.
How it works: you make a tour of small shops in the area, just as it was years ago. Pork couples (I do not tell you what they are, but simply try them) from norcinaro, bread from the baker, cheese, and olives in grocery, porchetta from “porchettari” (yes, they do just that), wine buns to biscuits maker. Put together your ideal aperitif. Armed with your bags, you just need to find a “fraschetta”: taverns equipped with tables, chairs and wine (not always have water). Order a carafe of Frascati Superiore white wine, sit back, open the foil the butcher gave you and started to eat, drink and socialize with neighbors tables. Bartering of food is allowed and strongly recommended.
My Favourite? The Osteria dell’Olmo in Frascati. A piece of heart.
If you do not have the ability to reach Frascati, here is a short list of restaurants and taverns in the old way, assiduously frequented by genuine Roman people.
Da Felice a Testaccio
Via Mastro Giorgio, 29
Well known, it’s among the best places to eat carbonara. I also recommend the cheese and pepper pasta, served in a somewhat special way (a waiter will embrace you from behind to mix the dough). You should book a few days in advance.
Via del Porto, 1
Housed in a basement, it was the site of the old papal prisons, then became Ciceruacchio alle Carceri, the historic restaurant of yore. You will find dishes, pizza, and some innovation, but with absolutely roman ingredients. I still remember with emotion the fried eggplant “coccetto” with buffalo milk.
Via del Corallo, 11
Restaurant and pizzeria within walking distance from Piazza Navona and roman nightlife. You should book, but consider anyway a little waiting. Offer a bit of everything, great courgette flowers (especially on pizza) and the stuffed anchovies. The pasta with cheese and pepper is served on a cheese wafer.
Viale Guglielmo Marconi, 149 Via Cola di Rienzo, 313
Not a restaurant, but Pompi prepares the most famous tiramisu in Rome. Do you have to quit your day, right?
Well, it made me want to pack my bags!
Enjoy your meal!
I intervene in Chiara’s list with my favorite places in Rome.
Il Duca in Trastevere
Vicolo del Cinque, 56 – Roma Trastevere
I had dinner at Duca, in Trastevere, with the carbonara and the saltimbocca. So good that I thought that I should live in Rome just for the food.
Via Borgognona, 43-46, 00187 Roma
If you are looking for an healthy lunch, good also for vegan, Ginger is perfect for you.
Piazza del Teatro di Pompeo, 20, 00186 Roma
This is not the most famous tiramisù in Roma, but I hope that it will be one day. All the desserts are homemade in the laboratory inside the shop. There are so many different tastes. Between Pompi and Zum, for me, Zum won.